One of my goals as I approached 40 was to start living my life in such a way that less is more. I've touched on this philosophy in prior posts, but I think at this time of year, it is especially poignant.
I did a really good job of avoiding the stores this weekend. (I did treat myself to a couple Creative Live classes, though!) I think this holiday can bring out the best and the worst in people. Coming from a poor background myself, it also occurs to me that this holiday encourages people who really cannot afford to shop to excess to do so. Credit card companies and big box stores encourage rampant consumerism and debt. While I appreciate what American Express is doing with Small Business Saturday, most large companies are intent on raising their bottom line while paying their employees minimum wage.
And as Americans, we sure do love our "stuff" - drive around the neighborhood, and you'll notice that three car garages are the curbside focal-point of modern homes much of the time. Places to store our stuff. Our status symbols. I'm to the point in my life where I'm seeing how ridiculous it all is. That stuff enslaves us to jobs we don't like and shortens our lives because of the stress it induces.
I'm over it.
If it weren't for the fact that my child needs to be in a stable environment, I'd sell it all and travel the world.
Anyway, I discovered the blog Becoming Minimalist a month or so ago. I really enjoy Joshua's writing, and he comes from a place of conscious consumerism and financial responsibility. I highly recommend his articles. This is my current favorite.
It's something I'm trying to be better about implementing with my own family. Our kids deserve our time - it's the best way we can show them our love.
This season, I encourage you to think about what really matters. I'd wager it's not half as important as a new TV, a fancy handbag, or a heaving toy chest.